I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on self leadership recently as I am doing a breakout at a conference in March on the topic.
I always get questions about why I read so much, how I have time, basically am I a nerd?
No to the last part.
There is an old cliche that says, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” As a leader, to take the next step, you have to read. You are not smart enough or good enough to just go on what “you know.” It amazes me when I meet with leaders and I ask them what they are reading and they give me a blank stare.
Who and what you read are critical because it shapes you. If you look at what I am reading right now, you will probably see those things spring up in our FUEL gatherings and in my sermons or even in the series that we do. What I read not only shapes me but our entire church.
How do I choose a book? Recommendations from other leaders, blogs, amazon, some publishers send me books. I learned a long time ago to read books by people I agree with and those I disagree with. As a leader, you need to know how to lovingly disagree with someone, and who knows, you may be wrong about something. It’s happened to me. The other important thing is to not just read about one topic. As a leader, don’t just read about leadership. Read books on theology, biographies, novels, parenting. Always be diverse in your choices, but do stay focused on what you want to get better at. If you find an author you like, go and buy all that they wrote.
When you read a book you like, send the author a note and tell them. I have built some great relationships with people because I sent them a note thanking them for what they wrote. Some books will have profound effects on you, tell people.
For me, an author has about 30 – 40 pages to grab me. If they don’t the book gets put down. Unless I’ve been told about this book by multiple people I respect.
How do I read so much? I always have a book and a highlighter. On my desk, in my computer bag, in the bathroom, in the car. Multiple everywhere. When I meet with someone I take a book (they may be late). When I have an appointment, I take a book. These are all precious moments to read that are easily missed by leaders.
This also affects who we hire at Revolution. One of the things I loved about Paul is that he is a learner. We talked to some good worship leaders who didn’t have an answer to the “what are you reading” question. If you are not growing as a leader, you are not getting better, which means you are getting worse. How do you expect God to use you if you are not growing?
To see what I’ve read over the last 3 years, go here.